Nobody liked it but every year she made it for us. She had to take the bus downtown to buy brandy for the batter, and every year the liquor store owner teased her as if she was a fellow alcoholic. It’s my bloodshot eyes, she mused as she infused the figs and cherries with brandy. She was never wrong about these things.
When the finished cake arrived at our house, Mom would take last year’s loaf out and slide the new one into the freezer. Once I saw her give it a kiss.
This year, she mixed marzipan icing to salvage the fruitcake. That’s what she used on Nana’s wedding cake when she married the liquor store owner last Spring. The icing softened hallway through the reception, and slid right off the cake like an omen, as Nana said. It could have been worse. If the marzipan had been too hard, the cake could not have been cut at all.
Nana still blamed Mom, and as she spread the frosting on our cake, I heard her say, You kids damn well better eat this thing. It’s the last time I’m doing this.
Flash Fiction by Cheryl Snell
Image by Adam Strong
Cheryl Snell’s books include several poetry collections and her Bombay Trilogy novels. Her work has been widely published and anthologized, including in a Best of the Net. Most recently her writing has appeared in journals from India, UK, Scotland, Canada, Greece, USA, Israel, and elsewhere.